What Are Calories And How Are They Calculated?

The calorie is established measurement in the amount of energy required to increase 1g of water at 1 ° C. Within the body, they represent the amount of energy that is supplied, or fuel, to all the metabolic processes and activities that we perform.

Calories are also associated with gain or loss of weight. So logically for the individual who seeks to increase muscle mass, more calories than expended, are required in consumption. Thus, an adequate supply of calories will favor muscle anabolism and consequently will not tend to generate accumulations. Likewise, in a hypocaloric diet, aiming at weight loss, we will have to make a sufficient calorie supply so that only the fat is eliminated and not the muscle mass.

But in order to understand the logic, we must first understand what is metabolism, which can be defined as the set of chemical processes by passing the food after its introduction in the body. It consists of the following steps: digestion, transformation, recovery and excretion.

However, within what we call the metabolism, in a nutritional view, for calories, we have to establish two types of classifications, to initially obtain a systematic caloric intake.

– Basal metabolism: the amount of energy spent by the body at rest, physically and mentally, with at least 12 hours of fasting and corresponding to the activity of the internal organs and the maintenance of body temperature.

– Total caloric value (TCV): it corresponds to the energy spent by the organism in the period of 24 hours and varies fundamentally with the activity exerted. Today it is being called Total Energy Value (TEV).

However, for the practitioner of high-performance training or even who seeks satisfactory results of muscular hypertrophy this calculation needs to be even more increased. This can be done in different ways as in empiricism, testing the ideal quantities, or setting standards as is the case of Ainsworth in 2000 that established the following formulas for bodybuilding:

Light weight training – 3,00 Kcal / kg / h
Moderate weight training – 4.50 Kcal / kg / h
Intense bodybuilding – 6.00 Kcal / kg / h

The caloric increase for hypertrophy of 1g muscle tissue per week is also, according to Willians, 1999, for:

5 Kcal in pubescent
8 Kcal in adults

Thus, to have an increase of approximately 500g / week, we must calculate 300-500 Kcal/day in the TEV.

But if you think you stopped there, you’re mistaken. These are just formulas for calculating calories. We will still have several other factors that will influence the diet for hypertrophy such as daily caloric distribution, distribution of macronutrients, the division of daily macronutrient consumption and so on.